Monthly Archives: April 2012

185492-Cape Cod, Massachusetts_image April 30th, 2012

Deals of the Week: Cape Cod Classics

As you start to plan your family vacations for the summer, consider one of the most popular destinations in New England: Cape Cod. “The Cape” is not only the easternmost point of Massachusetts, but it is also the perfect spot for a family-friendly getaway. This week’s deals will allow you to spend your afternoons riding bikes down the Cape Cod Rail trail or sunning on the beach near your summer home. Top it all off with an afternoon BBQ and a sunset walk on nearby dunes, and you have the recipe for a memorable summer vacation.

$250 off total stay!

Tucked away at the end of a street this home is close to the beach, restaurants, and Cape Cod Rail Trail. Spend those long summer nights on the back patio in the spacious backyard grilling with your family.

$1,000 off total stay!

This peaceful home is a down the street from Wequaquet Lake next to a cranberry bog. Cozy up inside by the Panoramic wood fireplace or relax on the balcony overlooking the backyard and in-ground pool.

$500 off total stay!

This charming summer home is on 150 feet of private beach on Long pond in East Harwich. Enjoy the Master bedroom’s panoramic view of Long Pond or stroll down to the breezy shore to relax in the hammock.

$400 off total stay!

This cottage is perfect for some sweet and salty fun for the whole family. Take your kids swimming at the beach or fishing for large mouth bass, before they play on the swing set as you prepare an evening campfire.



Categorized as: Budget Travel, Travelers Read more →
5381642tet67vw2 April 27th, 2012

8 Reasons to Travel Abroad

Today we are featuring, Magnus Hirst, a tour guide and Social Media Coordinator at IcelandicTravelMarket.is, a leading Iceland tours company specializing in bus tours, Iceland day tours, jeep tours, Iceland group travel, glacier walks, whale watching tours and more.

Travel can be one of the great joys of life. When you travel, you get to experience new things, new people, and new places. While there are plenty of interesting domestic travel destinations, international travel brings with it a whole new world of experiences. Here are some reasons why you might consider an international trip this year, rather than a domestic one:

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featureimageGreekIslands April 26th, 2012

10 Greek islands to visit

by Maria Haskins

Greece is a fantastic place to visit for many reasons: the food, the climate, the history, and the gorgeous beaches. Another reason is the many unique and amazing Greek islands visitors can explore: each one with its own particular atmosphere and local flavor. Whether you fly, or travel by boat; whether you go island-hopping between a dozen islands, or just pick one or two to visit, it’s likely you won’t be disappointed.

Here are 10 Greek islands that are definitely worth visiting:

1. Crete

Crete is the largest of all the Greek islands, and it has a lot going for it. According to some, the best food in Greece can even be found here! Crete is where the ancient Minoan civilization flourished from about 2700 BC, to 1400 BC, and this is where the stories of Ariadne’s thread, Theseus, the labyrinth and the Minotaur originated. For travellers interested in Greek history, the Minoan palace of Knossos is a must-see with its gorgeous buildings and colourful, evocative frescoes. Travellers interested in natural wonders can hike the Samaria Gorge, or enjoy one of the island’s many fabulous beaches. Popular beach-destinations include Balos and Elafonisi in Chania, Red Beach near the town of Matala, and the beaches around the town of Rethymno.

2. Rhodes

Located in the eastern Aegean Sea, near the coast of Turkey, Rhodes is one of the larger Greek islands. Like so many other places in Greece, it has a lot of ancient history for travellers to explore. Two of the most famous historical sites are Rhodes Old Town, which dates back to medieval times; and the acropolis of Lindos, which sits high on a cliff above the ocean, and was used as a fort by Greeks, Romans, Arabs, medieval knights and others through the ages. Rhodes also has a wealth of gorgeous beaches to enjoy. Several nice beaches are located near Lindos, while the popular (and sometimes crowded) Faliraki beach is just south of Rhodes Town, on the east-side of the island. There are also more secluded beaches, for example Prassonissi Beach in the southern-most part of the island.

3. Corfu

Corfu, or Kerkyra, is located in the Ionian Sea between Greece and Italy. Once upon a time, this island was ruled by the Italian kingdom of Venice, and the Venetian influence still shows in the architecture in Corfu’s Old Town. The Venetian rulers also encouraged and rewarded the planting of olive trees on the island, and centuries later, many of those trees are still alive and thriving. Of course, there are olive trees everywhere in Greece, but in Corfu, they are especially abundant: estimates vary from three to six million olive trees! Corfu has many beautiful beaches for visitors to explore. Popular beaches include Paleokastritsa, Glyfada, and Agios Gordios. Acharavi beach, on the northern tip of the island, is also a great beach-destination. For an “unofficially” nudist beach experience, travellers can visit Myrtiotissa Beach on Corfu’s west side.

4. Mykonos

Mykonos is known as Greece’s party-destination number one, and a lot of tourists go here to sunbathe, drink and dance the nights away. Paradise Beach, and its neighbour Super Paradise, are the prime party beaches. Other popular beaches are Elia, Platis Gialos, and Paraga Beach. Travellers looking for quieter spots to sunbathe and enjoy the turquoise waters can head to more remote beaches like Agios Ioannis and Agios Sostis. For visitors looking to explore some Greek history, the nearby island of Delos is a great destination for a day-trip. In ancient times Delos was considered the birth place of Apollo and Artemis, and the island has many easily accessible archaeological sites, like the temple of Apollo, the temple of Isis, and an ancient amphitheatre.

5. Naxos

Many Greek islands have connections to the ancient Greek myths, and Naxos is no exception. According to legend, this is the island where Zeus himself was raised in a cave. For travellers looking for a taste of Greek history, there’s the ancient temple of Apollo, a medieval Venetian castle, and Naxos’ Old Town to explore, as well as other historical sites. This small island also has many great beaches. Popular beaches include Agia Anna, Agios Prokopios and Plaka: all long and sandy and located south of Naxos Town. Another beach in the same area, Agios Gordios, is especially good for families with children.

6. Cephalonia

Cephalonia is located in the Ionian Sea, and provided the setting for the movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz: not a bad way to get some good word of mouth going! Remains of the island’s ancient Greek, Roman, and Venetian past can be found at various archaeological sites. Cephalonia is famous for its hiking and walking trails, and there are beautiful mountains, caves, and forests to explore. The island is also well-endowed when it comes to beaches. Myrtos beach, located just north of the main town Argostoli, is often mentioned as the best beach in Greece. Other good beaches include those near the resort town of Lassi, and Lourdas Beach – a relatively un-crowded and quiet pebble-beach further to the south.

7. Santorini

Santorini, also known as Thera or Thira, belongs to the group of Greek islands called the Cyclades. It is often mentioned as one of the most beautiful islands in Greece. During the Bronze Age, a violent volcanic eruption occurred here and destroyed much of the early Minoan settlements. Some even believe that this eruption was the origin of the myth of Atlantis. The archaeological remains of Santorini’s early civilization are now being excavated at a site called Akrotiri. The excavations show that as early as 2000 BC, inhabitants used running water, constructed multi-level buildings, and painted beautiful frescoes. Most of the beaches on Santorini, like the island’s famous Red Beach, are made up of coarser volcanic rock and sand, which can make them seem a little less inviting than the soft, sandy beaches in other places. To make up for it, the submerged crater near the island makes for spectacular diving.

8. Zakynthos

According to ancient Greek history (which tends to blend with myth), the island of Zakynthos was once invaded and conquered by Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s “Odyssey”. These days, tourists are doing most of the invading, and one reason people come here is Navagio or Shipwreck Beach, one of the most beautiful and most photographed beaches in all of Greece. The name comes from the smuggling ship that has been stuck in the middle of the sandy cove since the 1980s, when it ran aground and foundered just off-shore. The dramatic wreck, the surrounding white cliffs and the crystal-clear waters, make this beach a knockout. There is also excellent snorkelling and scuba diving around the cliffs and rocks.

9. Skopelos

According to Greek legend, Skopelos was founded by the wine-god Dionysus and Ariadne (the girl with the thread in the labyrinth), and throughout antiquity the island was famous for its wines. It is also famous for its green forests, with pine and oak trees covering most of the island’s interior. This is one of the quieter Greek islands, with smaller crowds and friendly locals. There are several beautiful beaches here, including Panormos, located near the small town by the same name, and Milia, a long, sandy beach that was featured in the movie “Mamma Mia”. Other beaches, like Ftelia and Sarres, are very secluded and can be reached only by boat or rough hiking trails.

10. Paros

Paros, located in the Aegean Sea, is favoured by many island-hopping visitors because it offers great ferry connections to other islands in the area. The island’s main town is Parikia, a picturesque and quintessentially Greek town with white-washed walls, doors painted brilliant turquoise, and lush gardens. Parikia also has a small archaeological museum, and the ruins of a medieval castle overlook the sea from a cliff above the town. Those looking to party on Paros usually head to Naoussa in the northern part of the island. The nearby Kolymbithres Beach is one of the best on the island, and famous for its clear waters. Other great beaches here are Livadia Beach near Parikia, one of the most popular beaches on the island; and Golden Beach on the island’s east side, which is frequented by many windsurfers.

I’m a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom with two kids. I maintain a travel blog called Traveling with Kids: http://traveling-kids.blogspot.com/ My twitter handle is @TravelAndKids .

 


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April 25th, 2012

Top 7 Ancient Historical Sites to See in Greece

Today we are featuring Drew C., a writer for an insurance website. It’s a great place to look if you need family care travel insurance. When he isn’t working, Drew loves to read, travel with friends, play soccer and spend time with his family.

Greece is a country rich in ancient history. Visiting Greece can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. The culture and landscapes of Greece consistently draw in visitors from around the world. There are numerous historical sites to visit, but these are the top seven that will make your trip memorable.

Athens

Athens is a major historical site with an urban vibe. All of the top tourist spots are located in Athens.

In this city travelers can find:

-The Acropolis
-The Parthenon
-The Agora
-National Archeological Museum
-Sntagma Square
-The Plaka
-Cape Souniou
-The Temple of Poseidon

The Parthenon is the one of the most significant locations in the world. It was built in 440 BC and is recognized around the world. The architecture and sheer size of this ancient temple is a must-see for anyone.

Olympia

If the name sounds familiar, that is because the Olympics started here. The archeological sites here are all full of the ancient Greek history. Ilia is home to Mt. Kronion, the most sacred spot in all of Olympia. The Olympics are an important part of world history, and visiting here will allow to see just how it all began.

Meteora

Many people come here and claim that being in Meteora is like being on another planet entirely. Rock pillars shoot up into the sky from the otherwise flat landscape. Monasteries here are perched delicately atop high cliffs where monks and nuns worship. Architecture here compliments the dramatic landscapes. Meteora is a massive historical site. The summer months can be brutally hot, while winter months are very cold. Visit here in the early summer, spring or late summer as temperatures drop.

Rhodes Island

This is an island in Greece that is known for it’s beautiful shores that are part of the Aegean Sea. Historically relevant sites are scattered throughout this island including Temple of Apollo, Acropolis of Rhodes, and Acropolis of Lindos. Additionally, Rhodes has a vibrant nightlife with clubs and restaurants. You can museum stroll by day and go clubbing at night.

Corfu Museums

Crystal clear azure ocean waters are famous in Corfu. Unique architecture here is a star point of visiting. Much of the architecture takes cues from Venetian-Roman styling.

In Corfu you can:

-Visit the historically significant City Hall
-Visit Mon Repos palace
-Visit crafter shops that sell traditional goods
-Attend a dance ceremony

Corinth the Ancient City

Visiting Corinth is a short 48 mile trip from Athens. Corinth was an ancient city in Greece. Apostle Paul was known to live here. It holds religious and spiritual significance. Temples of Apollo, Aphrodite and Octavia are also located in Corinth.

Cave of the Apocalypse

This sacred grotto in Patmos, Greece is the ancient place where St. John had visions. These visions led to the Book of Revelation. The cave entrance is decorated with a mosaic. There are also writings about the visions in the cave area. This is a Greek Orthodox Biblical site.

Visiting Greece is a historical journey through early human history. There are dozens of important sites to see. Spend your time at each one, but be sure to balance your schedule to include as many as possible. A longer vacation may be beneficial to enjoy more of the historical places in Greece.

 
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eatgreece1.jpg April 24th, 2012

How to Eat Your Way Around Greece

Today we are featuring Julie Bowman who loves independent worldwide travel and immersing herself into the local culture, trying the local foods, visiting unusual local sights and bringing plenty of mementoes home!

Eating in Greece is a fantastic way to learn about the culture and the people as there here there is a really strong emphasis on family and dining is an extension of those beliefs. When in Greece, a traveller can expect to eat dinner very late as many restaurants open at 9:00 pm (don’t worry, most of the tourist restaurants operate longer opening hours) and the meal usually lasts until midnight or later. It is wise to eat snacks throughout the day so you are not starving hungry by dinnertime!

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